If you want record crops, you need ratings scraping the ceiling, and this week's USDA Crop Progress report numbers continue to do that. Corn condition at 74% good to excellent was level with a week ago. The top-rated corn condition states are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Lowest-rated states are Ohio, Michigan, South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Soybeans also held even with a week ago; the good to excellent ratings total holds firm at 72%. The top five soybean states in the ratings are Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, and Minnesota. The lowest-rated states are Ohio, Michigan, South Dakota, Arkansas and Kansas.
Rain has been moderate to heavy across almost the entire Midwest along with portions of the Central and Southern Plains during the past week. In fact, soil moisture supplies are actually better now than a year ago at this time. With this kind of moisture we're seeing, it's hard to think that the crop ratings will not hold firm next week as well.
Progress also is moving along. Corn at 73% in the dough stage is 13 percentage points ahead of average. Spring wheat harvest is moving briskly, at 48% finished, well ahead of the average 30%. The northwestern U.S. winter wheat harvest is also mostly well ahead of average except in Washington.
One feature to note is that temperatures in the past week were mostly above normal. But, where did that above-normal value come from? It came from the overnight low temperatures, which were well-above normal. There were several record-warm overnight lows logged in the eastern Midwest.
The forecast is looking favorable for crops. The upper-air charts show a pattern change, featuring a strong trough over the Midwest. This brings in a round of below-normal temperatures for almost the entire central U.S., even including the previously-hot areas of Texas and Oklahoma. There is no reason to think that a late blast of heat is going to take the edge off crops. Meanwhile, the advanced pace of progress leads to very low threat of frost to the 2015 crop season.
NOAA's September forecast will be issued Aug. 18.
Bryce Anderson can be reached at email@example.com
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